Billionaire H&M owner brings super-fast broadband to Wiltshire village that suffered 'appalling' internet speeds by digging a two-mile trench across his country estate
- Village next to tycoon’s country estate had to endure slow internet speeds
- Estate staff have now dug a two-mile trench to connect village to network
- There is continued anger at BT in the village over delays to the installation
Stefan Persson was as angry as other residents at the slow internet speeds endured in the village of Axford near Marlborough.
After being told it would cost GBP170,000 for BT Openreach to install the infrastructure for a high-speed connection, staff on his Ramsbury Estate dug their own two-mile trench to speed up the process.
After initially fearing it could be years before they got faster internet, the work of Mr Persson and his staff means the village should have better broadband by Easter.
Stefan Persson, pictured left and, right, with his wife Carolyn, has stepped in to help a village near his country estate in Wiltshire get faster broadband
Villagers from Axford and staff from his estate have dug a trench for a cable to connect the village to the faster broadband network
Mr Persson, whose father founded H&M in the 1940s, has a nine-bed manor on his 780-acre estate, which includes a swimming pool, walled gardens and an orangery.
Residents in nearby Axford were furious at not being mentioned in planned roll-out of superfast broadband for 2020 and 2021 and got together to organise the trench for a cable connecting them to neighbouring Aldbourne, which already has faster speeds.
Their efforts have cut the cost of installing the faster broadband from GBP170,000 to GBP90,000.
Despite their gratitude to Mr Persson for his help, there is anger at BT among some in the village at continued delays.
The village near Marlborough was facing years waiting for the faster service to arrive
Ramsbury and Axford Parish Councillor Diann Barnett said: ‘BT is not now going to have it finished until the end of March.
We were originally told it would be ready for Christmas.
We are basically waiting for BT to pull their finger out.’
A spokesman for BT said: ‘While Christmas was mentioned as a possible delivery date during discussions with the community the complexity and the nature of the infrastructure resulted in changes to the build which made the delivery date impossible.
‘Therefore the contract between the community and Openreach was not signed until November meaning that our engineers would only have been able to start work on the project after that date.
‘We enjoy a very good working relationship with our partners on this project and look forward to making superfast broadband available to the community of Axford and the Ramsbury estate in the very near future.’
Villagers have thanks Mr Persson but hit out at BT over delays to the arrival of the service